Sustainable development and responsibility at the University of Oulu

The University of Oulu is committed to acting responsibly and promoting the UN Sustainable Development Goals through research and education. We are looking for solutions to the ecological, social, economic and cultural sustainability challenges facing the planet. Our goal is for every person at the University of Oulu to make responsible choices, now and in the future

Research for more sustainable world

The University of Oulu’s research focus areas sustainable materials and systemschanging climate and the northern environmentdigitalization and smart societylifelong health and understanding humans in change are directly linked to the UN sustainable development goals. Our multidisciplinary scientific community is constantly generating impressive breakthroughs and tackling global challenges. For example, we are developing sustainable materials to create greener industry, and our biomedicine and wellness technologies support lifelong health.

Our research topics related to sustainable development include

  • the sustainable and responsible use of natural resources
  • bio- and circular economy
  • the impact of environmental factors on health
  • the effects of climate change in the North
  • research on the changing environment in the Arctic and Boreal zones
  • the effects of globalisation and environmental change on human interaction and communities.

Environmental sustainability is the subject of a number of research projects in collaboration with universities and organisations. We also cooperate internationally on many projects.

Advancing sustainability and responsibility through education

At the University of Oulu, sustainability is integrated into the degree programmes of all fields of study, and sustainability-related courses are actively being developed. The course content focuses on sustainability issues in the Arctic region and the University’s interdisciplinary research. Sustainability-related courses are available to students in all faculties. Everyone also has the opportunity to deepen their knowledge by studying a minor in sustainable development. We also offer open courses on sustainable development, which anyone can attend.             

Education for sustainable development aims to support students in making responsible decisions, taking into account human well-being, cultural heritage, cultural diversity, environmental–ecological sustainability and technical–economic constraints. More than 2,600 responsible, world-building professionals graduate from our university every year.

Socially sustainable university community

The University of Oulu is an equal community, and all university staff have the opportunity to contribute to the university’s sustainable development. The University of Oulu Sustainability Forum is a series of events and a meeting place for members of the university community and stakeholders interested in sustainability and responsibility issues.

The University of Oulu’s first  Sustainability and Responsibility Action Plan (pdf) was published in 2021. The programme brings together measures on research, education, social impact and cooperation, as well as on our own activities and governance. The action plan will guide the university’s activities and will be the basis for the university’s sustainability and responsibility reporting.

The University of Oulu is also committed to promoting equality and consistency in all its activities. The university has an equality and diversity plan, and equality and diversity liaison officers make the work visible to the community.

Sustainable campuses

Sustainability is also taken into account on our campuses by improving the energy efficiency of our facilities, encouraging staff and students to cycle and by taking the environment into account in all our procurement.

Together with Oulu University of Applied Sciences, we have also developed a joint action plan for a sustainable and responsible daily life on campus. We aim to reduce our carbon footprint by 50% from 2019 levels by 2025.

Contact us

For more information on sustainable development and responsibility themes and actions, please contact specialist Anni Huovinen, anni.huovinen@oulu.

Shared responsibility for a sustainable future

The University of Oulu cooperates with national and international networks weighting on sustainable development and social responsibility.

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